'twas the night before christmas...

twas the night before christmas and all through the house,
everyone was sleeping... except for me.

all i can think about is the fact that in half an hour, give or take, i will bid farewell to my teenage years. i can't believe i'm going to hit the big 2-0! it's hard to come to grips with the fact that i'm growing up. i hate it. i wish i could have stunted my growth at 18 and lived a carefree life forever. but alas, we didn't come on this earth for that. we came to grow, progress, and experience! so here i am, getting older and wiser with each passing year.

being 19 was great. i look back on this year and realize how grateful i am for my life and the people in it. i have the most amazing family and fiancee a girl could ask for.

here are some highlights of my life as a 19 year old:

-finish my first year of college. i could write a million blog posts about college, but to be quick let's just say that it was the most growing and learning i've ever done in that amount of time. with it came a lot of amazing friends, quality time with cosmo, and weird college activities.

-fail a final exam for the first time in my life
-experience my first real car accident, and get stitches for the first time. (still reaping the benefits of that. i make scotty massage my finger from time to time)

-i went on the funnest girls trip with my three best friends this summer... california! a whole weekend of pure bliss. i love my friends and i am so blessed to know them!

-i still haven't gotten too old for daily phone calls with my mom while i'm at school
i love her
-i had LOTS of family time this year! from a fun wedding this summer, to sunday dinners at home, it's always a blast. i love being in utah and having some barnes cousins at the same school as me, and westra family all over. i love going to family functions with them at birthdays or conference, or more recently the DAVID ARCHULETA concert with mo tab in salt lake.
i loved seeing afton and her new baby brother JACK.
i love coming home from school and seeing my beautiful family. we had some fun times this year! thanksgiving in arizona, shopping excursions, the classic santa picture, and we even fed some homeless people today.

-this summer kami wanted to do something "dangerous" so we went to the stratosphere. that was quite the experience! every single ride. and i didn't think i would live to tell!
-i love being at school and getting to see all of my cute byu friends. they make me dinner sometimes, and in return i take them to the cannon center. we've done lots of fun things this year: nordstrom rack, relief society broadcast in slc, secret santa exchange
-i learned the thriller dance and had a blast performing it and dressing up. i think you can watch the video of our dance here.
-i GOT ENGAGED! i still get butterflies when i think about it. i still stare at my ring and zone out because of its beautiful sparkleyness. i met the love of my life, and i can't wait to be married to him... he is everything i've ever wanted in a husband- and more!
scotty is the cutest thing ever and i can't wait to spend eternity with him.

-i got the job as a resident assistant. to compensate the past 19 years without a sister, i now have 39. these girls are beautiful. i can't describe my love for them. while they may run up and down the halls screaming at obscure hours in the night, and string floss all throughout our bathroom, and steal christmas trees from the lobby, and write "butts" or other stupid things on my whiteboard, I LOVE THEM.

they are amazing. we've been through a lot together this year. i hope to keep in contact with my cute girls for a very long time.
-i got to spend a lot of time with my grandparents this year
-i had a semester of college where i DIDN'T fail a single test- HOORAY!
-i now have a whole new family of in-laws, i love them!
-i was brunette, blonde, and black (we'll say black even though it's technically a dark brown)
-i lost a lot of weight, and have already gained most of it back from this holiday season
-i decided that i love my life and everything in it.

so with that, i'll leave you all to a merry christmas.
eat as much as you can and open presents way too fast. i know i'll be doing the same.
remember that 20 years ago, a beautiful young woman was hauling a to the hospital to give birth to me. but more importantly, remember that about 2010 years ago, another beautiful young woman was doing the same thing in a stable.
listen to this song. i love it.
merry christmas... christ lives.


how to throw the perfect christmas party

STEP 1: hang ornaments from the ceiling, cover tables with red/green butcher paper, have a christmas playlist on, hot chocolate, and lots of candy. Have a girl's amazing mother cut out and sew 50 white fleece stockings. separate ribbons, glitter, buttons, scissors, etc in buckets on the counter.

STEP 2: girls come. each one gets a blank white stocking. let the creativity begin!

STEP 3: lots and lots and lots of buttons.

STEP 4: hot glue guns are a must.

STEP 5: start cutting, gluing, tying , sprinkling, and singing.

STEP 6: finalize the stocking. walk around and admire all of the diverse creations.

STEP 7: show it off! all of the stockings turned out super cute, but here are some personal favorites
and of course i couldn't help but make my cute fiancee one.
he's never had his own stocking before... poor baby.
our stockings compliment each other.
i can't wait to hang them over our own fireplace one day :)


a few things

here are the five most exciting/significant/notable things or thought processes going on in my life at this very moment.

1. i am in total HARRY POTTER mood these days...
i went and saw the midnight showing of the movie and it was freaking amazing! i laughed, i cried, i almost peed my pants i was so scared... all of my emotional cravings were fulfilled.
i can't wait for the second half next summer! i feel like i've kind of grown up with harry potter. it was my generation's "thing." i've read and reread the books, i went to buy them at midnight, i've had a crush on daniel radcliffe for as long as i can remember... it's a part of my adolescence.
speaking of my adolescence, it's disappearing. i'm getting old. friends are getting married and people i went to high school with are prego... it's freaking me out-

2. i can't believe one of my best friends in the whole world KAMI WILCOX is freaking married!
her reception was beautiful. she looked so happy! adam is awesome and i know he will be so good to her. i wish leah and alex could have been there!
it's so weird to think that she is a married woman now! and then i remember that that will be me in a few months :) WOOO! which brings me to...

3. i am in love with SCOTTY MARX! he is the man of my dreams.
he flew to mesa and surprised me at thanksgiving! he is so great.

and its safe to say that i am obsessed with this picture. or maybe just his face in this picture. i find myself staring at it allllllllllll the time haha
i absolutely adore him.

4. another thing i adore (although they do not go hand-in-hand) is BYU.
lately i have just been feeling so blessed that i am able to attend this beautiful university. i love the sports, i love the campus, i love (almost) all of my teachers, i love my friends here! i love the people and the food and the music and the rain...
pretty much everything with the exception of snow. and the fact that my mother and fiancee are not here. stupid.
i can't believe i only have 7 more school days left of the semester. whaaaaaaaaaat!?
then i will be back to my sweet home in vegas... which reminds me

5. i am SO grateful for my FAMILY! i love love love them!

i loved hanging out with them during thanksgiving break. tanner is still the funniest person i know, and mitchell is a hairy stud. my parents are two of the greatest people i know! my mom is so cute and john is smart and charismatic. i am so blessed. 17 days 'til i can be with them again!



all i ever do

well for about the past 11 days my mind and eyes have been on ONE thing.

instead of sleeping, i stare.
and i show off.
instead of taking tests, i take pictures.
(just kidding, mom)
i stare some more.
and on the way to class i stare even more.
(the stare is always accompanied by a smile)
i wake up and make sure all is still intact.
i've come to the conclusion that focusing on homework is near impossible with something this exciting on your hand.

i love my ring... and i LOOOVE my fiancee!
i can't wait to see him in THREE DAYS!
life is great.


couldn't be happier!

well, i have quite the story to tell.

picture this: it's friday night. im home in vegas loving every second spent with my family. scotty and i had a date planned for 9:30. i thought he would come over sooner... but he didn't.

at exactly 9:30 i get a text message saying "your driver awaits you outside." i laugh and think nothing of it, and walk outside. however, where i expected to see my handsome boyfriend and his truck, i saw his best friend dressed up in a tux- complete with bow tie. he informed me that he would be my chauffeur for the night, and let me into the back seat.

once in the car, i was handed an envelope with my name on it. i learned that i had just begun a scavenger hunt, and i was to instruct my driver on where to go. my first clue led me to scotty's house. then we traveled to subway, yogurtland, the cleaners, and finally the bellagio fountains. all of the clues were really cute and rhymed and were printed on fun glossy paper.

(mind you... this whole time i'm asking a million questions in the car "where are we going?!" "what are we doing?" "is scotty paying you to do this?" "he's not proposing, is he...?" "are we going to a show?" "how are you, devon?" and all i get back is "i'm sorry, but the man who hired me asked me not to disclose any information." hahaha. devon played the part perfectly. every once in a while he'd say something like "we are now approaching the intersection of twain and jones, the time is precisely 10:05 and the temperature is around 65 degrees according to apple iphone.")

(ALSO, you should know that sometimes i'm completely mindless. this whole time my thought process was going like this: aww my boyfriend is so cute --> what are we doing? --> oh maybe we're going to a show downtown! --> oh my gosh, could he be proposing? --> HA! no. he hasn't even asked john for permission --> good, because i didn't get my nails done yet. --> hmm... phantom of the opera? --> is that even still playing on the strip? --> what are we doing?!)

anyway, i was literally dropped off on the curb of las vegas blvd in front of the bellagio fountains and my chauffeur drove away. luckily i found scotty :) the bellagio fountains hold a special place in our hearts... we went there on our first date! very sentimental. scotty was dressed up in his church attire, and that's when i first thought something was up (took long enough). i was thinking "if we're going somewhere where he has to dress like that, he would have told me to dress up too... so why is he dressed like that?" hahaha. but i was still in denial. john told me he would tell me when scotty asked him for permission... and i dont think scotty has enough money to buy a ring right now... hmmm...

BUT. then the fountains starting going. and an unknown romantic song started playing. and he started telling me how perfect i am, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. i then started shaking with anticipation. i remember my jaw dropping as he got down on one knee... and like a fairy-tale, he pulled a little black box out of his pocket and the ring of my dreams just happened to be inside.

it was perfect. no- BEYOND PERFECT. people started clapping and i was bawling and my heart felt like it was going to explode! i said yes without hesitation, and he put the ring on my finger and swung me around! we called a crap load of people, and then had a romantic celebration and engagement dinner at the one and only: taco bell.

i am so in love.

my ring is BEAUTIFUL! i can't stop looking at it. every morning i wake up and get so excited that it's still real and i am still engaged! ITS NOT JUST A DREAM!

scotty makes me so happy. i can't wait to wake up to his cute face every day for the rest of my life. we have so much fun together and i feel like i am the luckiest girl in the whole world! he is alllllll mine :) ... I CANT WAIT!

my mouth is in pain from smiling for 73 hours straight.
i am losing my voice from talking so much.
my body hurts from being hugged and ambushed and squeezed all the time.
and yet, i could not be happier.


boyfriend #2

i suppose i should announce some important news...
i now have two boyfriends.
one just wasn't enough.
so, without further ado, meet drew
hahaha he is so cute. this is scotty's nephew. he spent the whole weekend trying to put his arm around me, flirting with me, or holding my hand. at one point he came up to me and said "ashley, i'm a better kisser than scotty!" hahahaha. his mom helped him a little with that line. he also told the family that he was going to "wait until scotty's not looking and slip right in next to her!" or something like that.
he is so funny.
although i liked hanging out with my boyfriend drew...
i looooooved hanging out with my real boyfriend all weekend :)
scotty's mom is awesome. she flew scotty to salt lake, where i met up with him, and then we flew together to texas for a cousin's wedding. the whole weekend was super fun!
we went to a rehearsal dinner, the wedding, the wedding reception, had late night talks in the motor home, i introduced some of the family to chili's chips/salsa/ranch, i met the grandparents, i met the great-grandpa and he called me "baby," we watched movies and even got our own personal tour of downtown fort worth!
we flew back to salt lake together, had a date in the airport during his 3 hour layover, and then we had to leave each other. that's always the worst part... stupid.